161 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 5036
Milwaukee, WI 53203
1333 College Avenue
Suite C
South Milwaukee, WI 53172

Children's dentistry is important because baby teeth have an impact on chewing, speaking and appearance. In addition, the baby teeth hold space in the jaws for the adult teeth. Both primary and permanent teeth help give the face its shape and form.

Tooth Eruption Sequence

Caring For Your Child's Teeth

The average time for a baby's first teeth to appear is around six months after birth. Usually the front two upper and lower teeth appear first. Every child is different, but often times the baby may have sore or tender gums while teething. Rubbing the sore gum with a clean finger, or a cool spoon or washcloth can be soothing. There are also many great teething products available for purchase that can help calm your child.

Most children have a full set of their 20 baby teeth by the time they are three years old. As your child grows, the jaws grow to make room for the adult teeth. Then, by age 5 or 6 the roots of the baby teeth begin to be resorbed by the surrounding tissues and the adult teeth begin to erupt. By the time your child reaches age 21, all 32 adult teeth, including wisdom teeth, will have erupted if there is room for them all.

There are several important things to consider when caring for your child's teeth.

  • When your child is an infant and toddler, never allow them to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.
  • Begin oral care early. Wipe the baby's gums with a wet washcloth after each feeding. As soon as the first tooth appears, begin brushing the teeth with a toothbrush and warm water. Once your child is able to sufficiently spit, you can begin using fluoride toothpaste.
  • Schedule your child's first dental visit around their first birthday. At this visit Dr. Costello will examine the teeth for cavities, check the oral hygiene and apply a topical fluoride. You will be holding your child on your lap while the doctor does his examination.
  • Check your child's teeth regularly. If you notice any changes or suspicious-looking areas, please never hesitate to bring your child in to have them examined.



Early Childhood Tooth Decay



Child Healthy Smile

Child Mild Decay

Child Servere Decay

Even a toothbrush bristle is too big to reach inside the groove in a tooth.

Tooth surface before a sealant is applied.

Tooth surface protected by a dental sealant.

It is absolutely possible for your child's teeth to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is also called early childhood caries. This happens when teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids like fruit juice, soda and even milk or formula. Early childhood caries can destroy an infant's or toddler's teeth and even harm the adult teeth forming in the jaws.

Your child can avoid tooth decay! To help reduce their risk, babies and toddlers should finish their bedtime bottles before going to bed. They should not be allowed frequent sips of sugary liquids from bottles or training cups, since this can lead to decay. As your child grows, continue to make sure your child eats a balanced diet, chooses healthy snacks and has excellent oral hygiene!

Dental Sealants
Thorough brushing and flossing can help remove the plaque and food particles from the smooth surfaces of the teeth, but toothbrush bristles have a hard time getting into the deep grooves and pits on the biting surface of the teeth. Sealants help protect these surfaces from cavities by "sealing out" plaque, food and bacteria.

Sealants are easy for us to apply. The sealant material is painted onto the tooth and hardened by a special curing light. The material will protect those grooves and pits by acting as a barrier so plaque and food won't get stuck in the teeth and cause cavities. Generally, sealants hold up well and last many years. At your child's bi-annual exam we will check the sealants and reapply if necessary.

We will most likely recommend sealants for your child sometime between ages 5-13. The reason for this is that children's permanent molars erupt around age 6 and 12. Once the permanent molars erupt, it is ideal to seal the teeth as soon as possible, limiting the chance of tooth decay.